MARTIN R. MURK
Marty Murk was one of those rare
persons who wore a perpetual smile and always saw the silver
lining on every cloud. He and his wife, Vera, could not have
been better matched; she has boundless energy and the patience
of Job. Everyone, sometime during his lifetime should be fortunate
enough to know the Murk's, or at least a couple similar to
Martin was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin
on April 30, 1928. His parents, Adolph and Ada, encouraged
his natural inclination toward art and by the time he was
six years old he was creating pencil sketches and building
model airplanes. He attended Columbus Grade School where he
was called upon by his teachers to draw and color American
frontier scenes of Indians and animals for the different classrooms.
At age fifteen, Marty decided
to pursue his intense interest in aircraft and began taking
flying lessons at the Kenosha Airport. He earned his student
permit within a year.
In 1945, Marty and four of his
buddies wanted to enlist in the military service. However,
since all of them were underage and none of them could obtain
parental consent, they signed each other's papers. The official
notary public seal presented a slight problem, but not for
long. Marty, who always was good with his hands, carved one
backwards in hardwood and they "notarized" all five
sets of papers. It took the U.S. Army exactly four days to
discover the forgery and all the parents were duly notified.
After much deliberation, all parents agreed that if the boys
wanted to serve their country enough to go to those lengths
then their wishes should be granted. All the parents signed
the consent papers.
It was only natural for Marty
to enter some branch of the service that had to do with airplanes,
so he chose the paratroopers and wound up with the Occupation
Forces in Japan with the Eleventh Airborne Division. The great
beauty of that country made a lasting impression on Marty
and influenced his art style.
After his hitch in the service
was completed and with the aid of the G.I. Bill, he started
flying again and also enrolled at the University of Wisconsin.
He earned his Private Pilot's Certificate, but decided not
to continue with his university studies.
Marty's innate artistic ability
earned him a job as draftsman and later a position as product
designer for the Simmons Company in his hometown. It was the
chief designer of that company who recognized Marty's talent
and encouraged him to go to art school.
Although the early years of free-lancing
were difficult, his patience, persistence and his generally
easygoing nature overcame and he established a foothold in
the commercial art world, illustrating wildlife, livestock
and children's books, as well as designing ads, brochures
and annual reports.
A classic example of Marty's
nature was demonstrated at a county fair a number of years
ago. He and his youngest daughter, Nancy, were just aimlessly
browsing when they wandered alongside a booth with a man selling
ducklings. Nancy looked up at her father and said, "Daddy,
can I have a duck?" Marty replied, "What are we
going to do with a duck? We don't have a place to keep it.
No, I don't think so."
After a few minutes of some deep
soul-searching he asked himself, "Why can't she have
a duck?" Leading Nancy by the hand, they returned to
the booth with the ducklings and he let her choose one. She
named it Waddles. Waddles remained part of the Murk household
for eight years, and provided them with many light-hearted
moments and lots of eggs.
Marty has been mildly active
in community affairs. He created many stage sets for The Suburban
Players, a local theatrical group. The first set he designed
was for MUSIC MAN, and ten years later the set for the same
play turned out to be his swan song.
Marty's hobbies were hunting, fishing, and collecting decoys. He was a member of Ducks Unlimited and the Safari Club International.